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How long should your new washer and dryer to last? It's a topic of much debate. Given that most machines come with just a 1-year parts and labor warranty, we asked manufacturers what kind of longevity you can expect and for advice on how to get the most out of your laundry appliances.

Across the board, manufacturers stress that proper installation of the machines is crucial, as is following the instructions in the owner's manual. That includes loading your machine without stuffing it, and using the proper amount of low-sudsing HE detergent with HE top-loaders and front-loaders. Manufacturers are now recommending you use this kind of detergent even for some agitator top-loaders.

We've heard from readers that mold is a problem, particularly with front-loaders. Again, manufacturers suggest following the advice in the owner's manual for best practices, such as using the proper amount of detergent to reduce film residue and keeping the washer door open after a cycle to allow it time to air dry. Regularly cleaning the washer tub, detergent dispenser, door, and gasket are also recommended. 

As for the dryer, clear the vent before your new dryer is installed. Clean the lint trap after every load, and periodically clean the vent duct.

Here, six major manufacturers fill you in on how long their machines should last and share advice on how to keep your washer and dryer going strong. You'll also find or exclusive brand reliability survey.

Electrolux and Frigidaire

"Our washers and dryers are designed to last a minimum of 10 years under normal use and care, which we validate through rigorous life-cycle testing," says Flavio Bernardino, Electrolux's director of research and development. (Electrolux makes Frigidaire as well.) Here are the manufacturer's tips:

• Run the washer's cleaning cycle periodically. The machine will display a reminder after every 50 cycles.
• Clean the detergent dispenser drawer regularly to prevent any residual buildup.


"On average, washers and dryers last 10 to 13 years if they are well maintained," says Chip Smith, vice president and chief marketing officer for Sears Home Services. The company's technicians repair models from a variety of brands, and Smith says overloading the washer or dryer is one of the top causes of the issues its technicians encounter. Here's what the manufacturer's recommends:

• Run your washer's self-clean cycle at the frequency recommended in the owner's manual. If your washer doesn't have this feature, run the machine—without any laundry in it—adding 2 cups of distilled white vinegar to a hot-water.
• Improve dryer airflow with a straight (not twisted) vent duct, one that's ideally metal and not plastic. Note that the shorter the run the better. (CR recommends using foil tape, not sheet-metal screws, to seal the duct.)


"The life cycle of an LG washer or dryer is around 10 to 15 years," says Taryn Brucia, director of public relations for LG. Here are the company's tips:

• Perform routine maintenance, such as cleaning the wash drum, and wipe around the water seal to ensure a front-loader's door closes properly.

Maytag and Whirlpool 

"Washers and dryers are designed and life tested to last 10 years, but that can vary depending on a customer's usage habits," says Danielle Whah, director of laundry-product marketing for Whirlpool, which manufactures Maytag products as well. Here's what the company recommends:

• Clean the inside of your washer once a month.


This manufacturer wouldn't specify how long you should expect its laundry appliances to last. "There are many variables, such as use, care, and maintenance, that can impact product lifespan," a company spokesperson says. Here are the manufacturer's tips:

• Clean the detergent drawer monthly to remove residue. A buildup may cause the drawer to leak.
• Run the self-clean cycle after every 40 loads.

Speed Queen

"Our machines are tested to last 10,400 cycles, which translates into roughly 25 years of use in the average home," says Jay McDonald, Speed Queen's vice president of North American Home Laundry Sales. The company offers a longer warranty—3 years on parts and labor for washers and dryers with mechanical controls, and 5 years for models with electronic controls. Speed Queen's TR7, its top-of-the-line agitator top-loader, boasts a 7-year warranty. Here's what Speed Queen recommends:

• Clean the tub and detergent dispensers regularly.
• Check that the machines are level, from time to time.
• Replace hoses every 5 years.

CR’s Brand Reliability Survey Results

Washing Machines
Our brand reliability survey found that Speed Queen agitator top-loaders stand out as a reliable brand. Among HE top-loaders (those without an agitator), LG is tops in reliability, although statistically speaking, its estimated breakage rate is not meaningfully lower than that of most other brands. But our survey did find that Samsung HE top-loaders are less reliable than most other brands, so much so that we do not recommend them at this time. 

As for front-loaders, LG is tops in reliability, but not meaningfully better than most of its competitors. Frigidaire, however, is more prone to breaking, so much so that we can't recommend them for now. Read "Least and Most Reliable Washing Machine Brands" for more details. 

Among electric dryers, no one brand stands out as the most or least reliable, but the lower breakage rates reported for LG make that brand meaningfully better than Frigidaire, GE, Electrolux, and Samsung

This article originally published on by Kimberly Janeway

Posted 1:00 PM

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